Man. Vikings fans are no stranger to heartbreak, but this draft blunder has to hurt especially bad. This one is 100% on the franchise, everyone told them not to do it, but they did it anyway.
Back before the 2005 draft the Vikings got a 1st round pick when they traded away a receiver named Randy Moss, ever heard of him? Moss was going to leave, so they traded the polarizing star when they could get something in return instead of him just walking away. They had a glaring hole at the linebacker position, and this draft was full of talent at the position. The one thing everyone told them not to do? Immediately draft a receiver to try and fill Randy Moss’ shoes. That’s just too much pressure for anyone, let alone a rookie.
So naturally when the draft rolled around, the Vikings selected Troy Williamson the wide receiver out of South Carolina at 7th overall. Williamson had deep speed, but wasn’t considered the best receiver in the draft, a distinction that belonged to Braylon Edwards who went 3rd to Cleveland. They had hoped he’d develop into a complete receiver, but that never happened. He played 3 seasons with Minnesota and only caught 79 passes for 1,067 yards and 3 TDS. That’s a far cry from replacing Randy Moss’ production. He was out of the league two years later after a short stint with Jacksonville.
This is a classic case of forcing a pick instead of drafting the best player available, especially when the best player available is at a position of need. Had they followed that philosophy they could have had one of the following, DeMarcus Ware, Thomas Davis, Derrick Johnson, or Shawne Merriman. Those are just the linebackers, they also could have drafted Roddy White or Mark Clayton if they had their heart’s set on receivers. Also in this class were the likes of Logan Mankins, Pac-Man Jones, and Aaron Rodgers.
Fortunately for Vikings fans their franchise has gotten much better at drafting. Especially on the defensive side of the ball, where they boast arguably the best group in the NFL. But going a different route in 2005 definitely could have helped them become more competitive over the last 10 years or so.